PBA D-League: NLEX zooms past Big Chill, gain finals berth | Inquirer Sports

PBA D-League: NLEX zooms past Big Chill, gain finals berth

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:56 PM January 31, 2012

INQUIRER PHOTO/ August dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines – Reminiscent of their hard-earned Game 2 triumph, fancied NLEX once again roared to a fast start and built a commanding lead over Big Chill at the half.

But this time, the Road Warriors made sure that there were no anxious moments as the defending champions sustained their lethal form to zoom past the Superchargers, 89-60, Tuesday and seize the last Finals berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.


“[My players] gave everything they can. Lesson learned in Game 2, even though we’re up, no lead is safe,” said NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez, whose squad faces defensive-minded Freego Jeans in a best-of-three series for the plum.


Game 1 of the Finals is set on Thursday pegged at 3 pm in the same venue.

The Road Warriors’ game clicked early as they surged ahead thanks to a 24-8 blitz bridging the first two quarters that had them up by 25, 43-18, at halftime.

NLEX blew a 21-point advantage it built the last time around but now, wary of Big Chill’s resiliency, the Road Warriors remained focused and just wouldn’t let up.

“I told my players, we’re not looking back but we’re looking forward. We’re up by 25, let’s go all the way,” said Fernandez.

RR Garcia and Calvin Abueva, who returned after serving his one-game suspension, had 16 points apiece. Garcia and Abueva alone outscored the Superchargers 21-18 in the first half.

Abueva, the San Sebastian star, also had eight rebounds and as usual his energy and intensity on both ends of the floor were infectious.


“Calvin [Abueva] and I talked after Game 2. I told him your teammates were there for you, they won the ball game and now it’s up to you to prove that you will come back in Game 3,” said Fernandez. “He showed he’s the best player and I can’t ask anything more from Calvin.”

Lanky swingman Chris Ellis added 12 points, four of which on rim-rocking slams.

On the break, Ellis shifted into high gear before going up and over a helpless Jopher Custodio for a tomahawk jam.

NLEX led by as much as 40, 79-39, after an 8-2 spurt capped by a steal and finish by reserve guard Karl Dehesa and highlighted by Ellis’ second dunk.

Big Chill committed 21 miscues and NLEX made them pay with 26 turnover points.

Raffy Reyes paced the Superchargers with 16 points.

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Freego surprisingly swept Cebuana Lhuillier in the other semifinals match.

TAGS: Basketball, Big Chill Superchargers, Boyet Fernandez, Calvin Abueva, Chris Ellis, Freego Jeans, NLEX, NLEX Road Warriors, PBA, PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, RR Garcia, Sports

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